Transcript Slide 1

Text Complexity
in the
Common Core
Patricia Coldren
Lee County Schools
[email protected]
Common Core and Literacy
• An increase in the
complexity and rigor of
literacy is a keystone of the
Common Core standards.
• The Common Core
document states “The
Common Core Standards
hinge on students
encountering appropriately
complex texts at each grade
level in order to develop
the mature language skills
and the conceptual
knowledge they need for
success in school and life.”
College and Career Readiness
Anchor Standards for Reading
Range of Reading and Level of Text
10. Read and comprehend complex literary
and informational texts independently and
The Three Shifts
(Common Core Keys)
1. Building knowledge through content rich
nonfiction and informational texts.
2. Reading and writing grounded in
evidence from the text.
3. Regular practice with complex text and its
academic vocabulary.
Building knowledge through content
rich nonfiction and informational
• In K-5, the standards require a 50-50 balance
between informational and literary texts.
Informational reading primarily includes content rich
non-fiction which includes social studies, science, and
the arts. Students should build coherent general
knowledge. In secondary even more emphasis is
placed on literacy nonfiction. The standards require
that students can independently build knowledge in
these disciplines through reading and writing.
• What does that look like in the classroom?
Elementary teachers instructing with and students
learning from informational texts fifty percent
of the time.
Reading and writing grounded in
evidence from the text.
Standards expect students to be able to answer text dependent questions that
depend on them having read the text carefully and repeatedly rather than
questions that can be answered based completely on prior knowledge
and/or personal experience. New standards place great emphasis on writing
to sources and using evidence from texts to create effective argumentative
and informational writing, as well as focusing on narrative writing.
What does that look like in the classroom? Teachers will ask questions that
make it necessary for students to reread text to find answers and find
evidence to support their answers. Students will have to read text closely to
find evidence and draw inferences. Students will support their opinions with
evidence from the text.
Regular practice with complex text
and its academic vocabulary.
• The standards highlight the increasing complexity
of the texts - building a staircase of text complexity
to prepare students for the demands of college and
career level reading. When needed, teachers
provide scaffolds to enable all students to
experience complex text. The standards also focus
on academic vocabulary: words that appear in a
variety of content areas.
• What does that look like in the classroom?
Students will interact with challenging, rich text.
Teachers discuss academic vocabulary with their
What is Text Complexity?
Overview of Text Complexity
The Common Core State Standards
(National Governors Association Center
for Best Practices & Council of Chief State
School Offices) define text complexity as
three interrelated components.
1. Quantitative dimensions of text
2. Qualitative dimensions of text
3. Reader and task considerations
Reader and Task
The terms quantitative dimensions and
quantitative factors refer to those aspects of text
complexity, such as word length or frequency,
sentence length, and text cohesion, that are
difficult if not impossible for a human reader to
evaluate efficiently, especially in long tests, and
are thus today typically measured by computer
•Computerized readability formula used by Renaissance Learning
•Used The Educator’s Word Frequency Guide from TASA (Touchstone
Applied Science Associates)
•Factors in whether text is fiction or nonfiction
•Factors in length of text
•Does not take content into consideration
•Cannot be used in isolation
•Readability formula used by testing companies and textbook and trade
publishers to designate relative text difficulty among products
•Relies on a 2,000 point scale used to describe the readers and the text
•Relies primarily on measures of sentence length and word frequency
•Play a prominent role in Common Core
•Since the common core text complexity bands have widened
Let’s examine a text using all three measures. We
will start with Quantitative.
Lexile: 870L
ATOS: 5.6
In the Standards, qualitative dimensions and
qualitative factors refer to those aspects of text
complexity best measured or only measurable by
an attentive human reader, such as levels of
meaning or purpose; structure; language
conventionality and clarity; and knowledge
Qualitative Measure of Text Complexity
•Levels of Meaning and Purpose
•Text Structure
•Language Features
•Knowledge Demands
Now let’s look at the qualitative dimensions and
Rubric for Qualitative Discussion
While the prior two elements of the model focus on
the inherent complexity of the text, variables specific
to particular readers (such as motivation, knowledge,
and experiences) and to particular tasks (such as
purpose and the complexity of the task assigned and
the questions posed) must also be considered when
determining whether a text is appropriate for a given
student. Such assessments are best made by the
teachers employing their professional judgment,
experience, and knowledge of their students and the
Reader and Task
•What aspects of the text will likely pose the most challenge for my
•What Common Core State Standards should I focus on when teaching this
•Will the complexity of any before, during, and after reading tasks or the
complexity of any questions asked about the text interfere with the reading
•What supports do I need to provide so that all of my students (even
those who are struggling readers) can access the text?
Don’t forget about Reader and Task.
NCDPI Guiding Questions
Reflection Questions
How Can I Determine
Text Complexity?
Four Step Process
1. Determine the quantitative
measures of the text.
2. Analyze the qualitative
measures of the text.
3. Reflect upon the reader and
task considerations.
4. Place text in the appropriate
text complexity band and
decide if it is appropriate
for your grade level.
Reader and Task
Try One on Your Own…
What does this mean for
my classroom?
Has To Be At The Heart
of Text Complexity
Of Everything You Do
•We have to select the right text
•We have to increase Eyes on Text Time
•We have to increase the rigor of text based activities
•We have to teach the reader…not the novel…
•We have to make a
conscious effort to
rethink what we do
before, during, and
after reading